The second annual First Responders Charity Dodgeball Tournament on Saturday night hosted by the Crown Point Volunteer Fire Department Inc., proved that March Madness is not the only current sports tournament. It was all smiles from the Heroes of the Region as they hurled rubber balls for a great cause.
The event brought together more than 200 first responders from the Region to support the Northwest Indiana Cancer Kids Foundations. The NICK Foundation provides financial and emotional support to families of children diagnosed with cancer. This year, the tournament included 32 adult teams (up from 26 last year) with 3 youth teams and the NICK Foundation has high hopes of topping their $10,000 total from last year.
The tournament was started last year by Dale Holsti and Mark Reed, both firefighters for the Crown Point Volunteer Fire Department. “We kind of forced ourselves to learn how to run a dodgeball tournament to raise money for NICK,” joked Holsti. The City of Crown Point was happy to host the event alongside the volunteer fire department and other business sponsors, such as Oak Partners, Inc. The Sparta Dome donated the use of the facility.
“NICK is the place to turn when you find out your child has cancer. They are a place for Region residents to go for financial assistance, emotional support, and anything they really need,” Holsti said. “You never really know what having a kid with cancer feels like, until you have a kid with cancer and NICK helps with that.”
The winners last year, the Throwbocops from the Hobart Police Department, attended again to defend their title. They accompanied just a few of the many kids that NICK has helped as the opening ceremony began.This year, they did just that and won again!
D’Andre Spears from the Throwbocops was proud to be back at the event supporting the cause. “It means a lot to be here. It’s for the kids and everyone is having a great time,” Spears said. “Honestly, it comes from the heart when you’re out here playing dodgeball for the kids with cancer.
I’m glad we can come together as a supportive group to better the kids’ lives.”
Of the 32 teams participating, three were composed of kids. The Drew Crew was the champion of the children’s tournament.
Nate Kalk, 13, of Schererville, was happy about how well his team performed. “It feels great that we have a team that played together, worked together, and won together for cancer research.”
The event also included a silent auction with sports memorabilia, jewelry, and many other donated items. A 50/50 raffle also made its way around the event. Kauffman Chiropractic offered free muscle screenings for those who may or may not have thrown the ball a little too hard.